EI Practitioners Newsletter 01/2020

Dear Genos E.I Practitioners,

We hope you had a great start into the New Year. We wish you all to discover, grow and spread light in your work and in your life. Happy 2020!

With this in mind, our focus in this first EI Newsletter this year, is Selfawareness, the fundamental EI competency. We will share with you an article written by one of our best coaches and a very interesting Case-study. Then, some exciting news on our next trainings on EI.

Happy reading!

The article we would like to highlight this time focuses on the first and foremost EI competency, Self-awareness. This choice of words is deliberate as, to be able to demonstrate all the other EI competencies, we need to develop higher levels of Self-awareness in all aspects of our life and work. Think of Self-awareness as the starting point of all Emotional Intelligent behaviours. In fact, I really like the title of Michael Bank’s article: A great leader’s primary responsibility: to be self-aware. It is a responsibility indeed!

Here follows an expert. Should you wish to read the whole article, please visit Michael Banks' LinkedIn Page here.

“The foundation stone and ‘sine qua non’ of Emotional Intelligence is Self-Awareness. It is the basis of great leadership. The kind of leadership that creates a safe environment in which people can freely express themselves, learn together and achieve amazing things. The kind of leadership that inspires commitment, loyalty and love. Leadership that engages employees at all levels.

Let’s explore how self-awareness leads to this kind of leadership.

The practice of Mindfulness is popular these days and is about developing the capacity to observe one’s feelings and thoughts as they flow one’s present reality. However, being mindful and self-aware is a state of being not doing.

How can we apply self-awareness in a very practical behavioural way to leadership? What skills related to self-awareness can be effectively employed in organizational life?

The key is to be ‘present’ at any time and in any place, whatever you’re doing. Pay attention in the moment to the feelings you experience in your body, the emotions, body sensations and the thoughts and judgements that are passing through your mind.

Greater self-awareness has practical ramifications in organizational life. If your desire as a leader is to enrol your people in collaborating to create a learning environment it’s important to be aware of the thoughts and feelings that may trigger you to cause negative outcomes. Stress can lead to poor communication behaviours, unless you are self-aware enough to know how it’s affecting you and how it can bleed out into the way you speak to others around you. Then you can manage yourself accordingly.

Apart from being present and mindful, feedback is the most important way in which one can develop self-awareness. A very senior executive at a global bank had a reputation for being a cold, insensitive bully and, criminally, none of her managers had ever given her feedback about her impact. Her behaviour was causing massive organizational problems affecting thousands of employees. She spent a very shocking and painful day listening to the verbatim feedback comments of colleagues around her. After this transformational experience her PA, who she reduced to tears on a regular basis, called me to ask what magic I had used to change her. She had gone into the office the day after the feedback session and the executive had hugged her and apologized for all the hurt, she had caused. And the culture of polarizing fear and breakdowns in communication across divisions began to disappear to the benefit of the whole global division of the bank. No magic: just powerful feedback had caused this shift in self-awareness.

Of course, these are extreme examples of feedback and a learning organization is one in which giving and receiving feedback on a regular basis is encouraged from the top down to engender learning and growth.

The leader sets the tone for a feedback rich culture and his/her job is to minimize fear. Co-creation and collaboration throughout the organization only occurs when you can trust that it’s OK to admit mistakes, as well as take up unpopular positions, criticize ideas, policies and strategies held by others especially senior leaders. This requires the leader to be aware of his or her own defensiveness, insecurity and so on and welcome feedback instead of suppressing and punishing. A leader who is self-aware and employs that awareness effectively in service of his or her organization tends to be compassionate, empathetic, humble, authentic and can laugh at themselves. This endears him or her to people and inspires them to give of their best.

A high degree of self-awareness in leaders can make a massive difference to organizational culture and performance.”


by Michael Banks


In this issue we would like to share the excerpt of an historic case study by Cherniss, Cary & Caplan, Robert, Journal of Organizational Excellence, Winter 2001 © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Should you wish to read the whole document, please contact us and we will be happy to send you a pdf copy.

A Case Study in Implementing Emotional Intelligence Programs in Organizations. Journal of Organizational Excellence.

American Express Financial Advisors prides itself on helping clients develop financial plans that include the purchase of life insurance. But in 1991, the senior vice president in charge of life insurance at American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA) noticed that something was wrong. Seventy-three percent of clients with such plans never followed through with the purchase of life insurance. This is the story of how the vice president’s process of inquiry led, a year later, to a novel solution – AEFA would train its financial advisors and their managers in “emotional competence”. The year was 1991. Four years later, David Goleman’s first book on emotional intelligence practically turned the concept into a house-hold word in the hall of corporate America.

The Emotional competence program at American Express Financial Advisors was designed initially to help the company’s advisors cope with the emotional reaction that they have to selling life insurance. The advisors learn about the impact of emotions on human behaviour, and they learn how to identify and manage their own emotional reactions.

Note: In the GENOS Model of EI the two competencies that we study and develop in our trainings relating to those abilities are Awareness of others and Self-management.

Several versions of the program are currently being or have been offered. One version is part of the trainings for new advisors. Another version is for managers as part of their standard development programme. A third version is offered to regional management sales teams. Other versions exist too for different group of participants.

Two versions of the program have been evaluated. The findings suggest that advisors who receive the training generate more sales revenue than advisors who have not received the training. Furthermore, when regional management teams are trained, their advisors generate more revenue than advisors working in regions where the management team have received the training.

One study showed that when group presidents and their direct reports received emotional comptence training, their advisors generated 11 percent more growth in sales evenue during a 15-month period.

The company estimate that this difference resulted in over $200 million more in sales revenue. Moreover, the program is well liked: 91 percent of participants report a positive personal benefit, and 88 percent of leaders report that it is relevant to their jobs.

Demonstrating need.

One of the most important factors contributing to the program’s adoption was that it developed as a direct response to a business need. [As mentioned above] Too many clients were failing to follow up on recommended purchases of life insurance. The marketing people had tried several approaches, but nothing made a significant difference. Finally, a marketing study that also studied the advisors led to the idea that advisor empathy was crucial for developing trust with the client. These studies also suggested that advisor self-doubt was a major barrier in selling.

One of the first actions taken was to hire a consulting firm to study the ways emotions entered into the process of buying and selling life insurance.

After conduction an initial study that focused on the emotions stirred up for the clients, the same firm did a study focusing on the emotions experienced by the advisors when they tried to sell life insurance. The results showed that many advisors felt uneasy about this part of their role. To confirm the study results, the team proposed yet another study to look at the correlation between advisor success and emotional coping ability. When the results suggested that successful advisors were, in fact, more adept at coping with the emotional side of selling, the team …set up and experimental training program designed to teach advisors how to cope better, and it evaluated whether those who went through the program subsequently sold more insurance than a control group….A number of persons confirmed that these studies were important in helping to make the case for emotional competence training.

This is some history of EI at the early stages of being considered important in the development of managers and staff. Not all studies at that time were fully conclusive but the majority were. In fact, many steps forward have been made. Nowadays Emotional Intelligence is part of leadership training programmes in most of the global organizations in the world as well as the surveys to assess its need in organizations. Just think of the GENOS 360 and 180 and how practical and easy to understand and use a tool is!

Seize the opportunity of our next GENOS Certifications!


  • The GENOS Emotional Intelligence Certification

This programme is designed to train participant to the GENOS EI assessment tools applied to leaders and to the workplace. Who wants to learn how to administer and debrief GENOS assessment questionnaire both for leaders and the workplace (Self, 180, 360) can join us in the NEXT programme that will be delivered by PeopleSmart in Paris: on MARCH 12-13, 2020 in FRENCH

  • Leading and Motivating with EI Taster Session

This event took place on December 13, 2019 at the British Council in Paris. It was a great success with enthusiastic participants expressing interest to know more about the Genos Surveys and the Genos Certifications.


PeopleSmart have been invited at the Mega Leadership Accelerator Conference in Sofia on 9th April, an event entirely devoted to exploring Emotional Intelligence.

Our Managing Director, Chris Pether, will be holding two speeches on EI and Change Management, and EI and entrepreneurship.

The other topics will EI and charisma, EI and engagement, EI and organizational culture, EI and organizational systems, EI leader, EI team, EI and motivation of sales teams, EI in goal management, EI and productivity, Mindfulness and wellbeing, Resilience.

A great event about Emotional Intelligence!

For more information on this topic, please contact our team of experienced EI Practitioners and Coaches:

Maria Caterina Capurro

Maria Caterina Capurro
EI Master Practitioner, Trainer and Executive Coach @PeopleSmart

Lara Langman

Lara Langman
Genos project manager & Executive Coach @PeopleSmart

Stay in touch with us